Scottish Spooks and Spirits
Halloween is approaching…
and we’re settling in for candy, pumpkin carving, and spooky Scottish Halloween tales told fireside. Luckily, Scotland is known for having a bit of a ghostly past with plenty of haunting stories. We’ve picked a few of our favorite tales from Trust properties to send shivers down your spine and maybe, for the brave among us, the desire to visit these places and see for yourself!
Perched high on the Ayrshire cliffs, this Robert Adam masterpiece is shrouded in tales of terrible deeds and evil spirits. Learn about the 4th Earl of Cassillis, who in 1570 captured the abbot of Crossraguel Abbey and roasted him alive until he agreed to sign over his lands. Listen to tales of Sir Archibald the Wicked of Culzean, a man so evil that the devil himself attended his funeral. Hear stories of a ghostly knight dressed in armour who appears to household staff, and of the phantom piper who plays on stormy nights as the waves pound the cliff face below.
A Haunting at The Hill House
When Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed The Hill House for Glasgow publisher Walter Blackie in the early 1900s, we are sure he hoped that Mr. Blackie would enjoy his new home. It seems, however, the original owner has not completely let go of his beloved property. His ghost is said to appear on the upper landing, dressed in a long black cape. He often enters from the dressing room before vanishing into the main bedroom leaving a trailing scent of pipe tobacco in his wake.
The Lady of the House
Work began on Crathes Castle in the mid-16th century and was home to the Burnett family for the next 350 years. Visitors have reported frequent eerie happenings in one of the oldest parts of the castle, the double tower, in what is known as the Green Lady’s Room. The identity of the women in the green dress who haunts the tower is unknown. She often appears to guests with an infant in her arms. When the castle was renovated in the 1800s, workers discovered the bones of a child under the hearthstone of the fireplace in the room. The mystery deepened when it was uncovered in the archives that there had been accounts throughout the history of the castle of supernatural appearances. The archives describe a luminous block of ice that moves as someone walking but not exactly human in shape, accompanied by a sharp drop in room temperature.
A Fairytale with a Dark Side
Craigievar Castle is often considered a real life fairytale; so much so that it’s said to have been an inspiration for the Walt Disney trademark castle. Darkness and mischief, however, is held within the beautiful pink exterior. The tower’s Blue Room is said to be haunted by a member of the Gordon Clan who fell from the window. He was forced to his death at sword-point by ‘Red’ Sir John Forbes. Visitors have even heard footsteps climbing the stairs up to the room, re-enacting the moments before the fall. The same room is said to have other ghostly mischief, including mysterious shadows and doors that open and close on their own.
The Terrifying Table
In 1612, Thomas Dalyell bought the property on which the House of the Binns stands and it has remained to this day the family home of the Dalyells. Thomas’ son, General Tam Dalyell, is possibly one of the most infamous members of the family to have lived in the house. Not solely for his fame as a professional soldier, but also for his alleged dealings with the devil. The legend goes that after Tam won a hand of cards, the devil was so furious at having been beaten that he lifted the marble game table and threw it straight at Tam’s head. Luckily with a swift duck, the table missed Tam and soared through the window and into the depths of the pond below. Now, it’s easy to laugh off such a tall tale as folklore and likely most listeners have, however, when the water level of the pond was low following a drought around 1885, nobody could explain the presence of a marble table that was revealed 200 years after General Tam Dalyell’s death.